FMCG Changes Farm Shops Could Face in 2019

With the new year just around the corner, IRI has put together their predictions about what changes may be in store for Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) in 2019. It’s never too early to plan ahead, and farm shops that get organised are likely to stay ahead in what could be a turbulent year. So, here are some of IRI’s staff’s top picks:

The controversy of plastic, a topic that Free Range Magazine has discussed in the past, is set to gain ever-more prominence in 2019, according to George Knowlson, an Insight Analyst at IRI. FMCG manufacturers will need to consider their packaging to create more ethical, environmentally-friendly products. This, of course, extends to retailers, who should ensure their practices live up to the high standards of modern consumers — such as zero-waste stores.

Retailers need to focus on customer engagement rather than loyalty schemes, according to Paul Hinds, Senior Vice President of International Retail Solutions at IRI. While loyalty programs are important to many retail models, they too often fall into the trap of point-chasing rather than meaningful engagement with a brand or retailer, according to Hinds. Thus, it can be hard for to justify continued investment in the schemes. This is especially true with the emergence of online retailers and specialty clubs — think Harry’s or the Dollar Shave Club — that leverage online content and the convenience of home deliveries to really engage customers.

Moreover, there is a split between those retailers using loyalty programs’ byproduct of rich customer data and those who aren’t. The businesses that are going to pull ahead in 2019 are those that create highly personalised programs for customers based on this data and make impactful decisions across their business when analysing what, when, where and how customers shop.

In the coming year, there will be an increasing demand for local and national goods, according to Olly Abotorabi, Senior Regional Insights Manager at IRI, which is great news for farm shops. Recent surveys have shown that there has been an increase in the number of people who are shopping locally and, more importantly, in those who are willing to pay a premium to do so. The focus on local products is expected to continue in 2019, and Abotorabi has some tips on how to capitalise on this:

Retailers and manufacturers will need to work smarter to ensure they can convert those shoppers who are ‘interested’ but not yet ‘buying local’ by promoting authenticity, making sure the price is right and ensuring they can find the products on the shelves before they walk out of the store.

Farm shops are, of course, in a far better position to do this than other, larger retailers but that doesn’t mean they can’t promote the “local” aspect of their businesses even more in 2019.

Furthermore, there is an increased uptake in “free-from, vegetarian and vegan products, and movements like zero food miles” according to Abotorabi. While this may not be the traditional fare of many farm shops, perhaps 2019 is the year to add some new ranges to the shelves. But, that said, nothing is more vegan than fresh local vegetables.